Beware of internet security scam

LARNE residents have been urged to remain vigilant after several pensioners were targeted in an internet security scam.

It is believed that hoaxers claiming to work for Microsoft have been phoning people and warning them that their computers are infected with viruses and need to be fixed urgently.

The unsolicited caller, who speaks with an Indian accent, then asks the victim to turn on their computer before remotely installing security software. The victim is then charged a large sum of money, and the newly installed programme will often cause the computer to crash.

One woman who fell for the scam was conned out of £199, and two others were charged fees of £99 and £86.

Dave McFadden, owner of Larne Computer Warehouse on Main Street, warned local people not to be taken in by these hoaxers.

“Microsoft will never cold-call someone, so if you get a call from someone claiming to work for them, hang up immediately,” he added.

“Three pensioners have come to me in the past week after they fell victim to this scam and asked me to repair their computers. The software that these hoaxers are installing can be downloaded for free online, so don’t be fooled.

“One woman came to me the same day that she had been scammed, and I advised her to go to the bank immediately and cancel the payment. Luckily she caught it in time, but the other two had left it too late and have no chance of getting the money back.

“I just want to let everyone know that this is happening and to be on their guard.”

In May and June this year, the Times reported that similar scams had been taking place in Larne, Ballygally and Islandmagee, with one victim losing out on £222.